WAR Graph Wednesday: 2011 Cardinal Shortstops

by on August 3, 2011 · 6 comments

St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Ryan Theriot (3)

Image by Keith Allison via Flickr

I thought about titling this post “Re-opening old wounds” – for I expect it to be painful for many of us, myself included.

I do my best to be balanced about baseball, I really do.  Objectively viewing certain situations and outcomes is good for my blood pressure, I’ve found.  But sometimes, unabashed homer or Kool-Aid drinker is a more accurate description.  To wit, off-season chemistry and TRADING DEFENSE FOR OFFENSE™ had me convinced the Cardinals had a plan, they would execute said plan, and win.

Well, hindsight is a fickle mistress, leaving only one graph of the typical three necessary this week.  Only one most appropriately illustrates my point.

This week, we’ll look at the shortstops of the 2011 Cardinals.  There’s the newcomer, Rafael Furcal.  The two who have spent the most time at the position this season, Ryan Theriot and Tyler Greene.  Finally, just to raise some folks’ dander, there’s this scrappy cat, now hails from the Pacific Northwest that many WISH had logged some time at shortstop for the 2011 Redbirds … Brendan Ryan.

Click image to see full-size

My goodness, look at all those negative numbers!  And Theriot’s has only recently crept above zero, helped by a big effort Saturday against the Cubs – also the only game he’d started since the trade deadline before this afternoon.  Who knows, Furcal may have crept above the WARdoza line as well with his exploits today.  But I digress…

… off-season chemistry and TRADING DEFENSE FOR OFFENSE™ had me convinced the Cardinals had a plan, they would execute said plan, and win.

When you surrender more runs with your brick glove than your punchless bat produces (yeah, about that offense…), the plan is failing?  And what greater indication do we have of a failed plan than Rafael Furcal?  Theriot didn’t want to play second base, he’s being forced to do it.  On a part-time basis.

I think Furcal can be a good solution to the problem for the Cardinals the remainder of this season, and the price was right.  But was it necessary to go through all of these paces to get here?

Teammates don’t like Ryan?  Put his locker in the hallway.  Make him fly commercial (and in coach too … EWWWWW).  Just make sure he brings his glove.


Postscript: I fully expect this post to be received poorly.  “Hanging on to a player who was disliked.”  “Don’t sabe me.”  “RYAN IS TEH SUXX.”  To which I submit:  I bet Chris Carpenter or Yadier Molina wouldn’t mind having him picking horsehides around that second base bag lately…

Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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Bob Hudgins August 4, 2011

Received well here. What a shame.

PH8 August 4, 2011

Thanks for reading, Bob. Still holding out hope that Furcal is re-energized and can lend some help down the stretch. But they’ve already sacrificed a lot.

Lee August 4, 2011

Couldn’t agree with you more. Can’t believe I’ve reached a point where I cross my fingers and hope LaRussa pencils Nick Punto in at the cornerstone. Yuck.

PH8 August 4, 2011

Yeah, that’s really bad, considering that Punto is on the DL again. 😉

Lee August 4, 2011

Whoops. Not sure how I missed that. Sheesh.

On a related note (and perhaps this is more of a post unto itself), but why have the Cardinals had such ridiculously poor middle infielders since The Wizard? Sure, Renteria was good for a while there, and DeShields had a few good years, but other than that… just barren.

Seems odd that we’d have such a dearth for so long (especially at 2B).

PH8 August 4, 2011

My (completely self-imagined) opinion? They don’t see the middle infield as a place to invest money. Not going to have a big hitter there, so go bargain-hunting.

Which is, IMO, a fine strategy when you’re filling the positions with bargains like Cesar Izturis and Brendan Ryan. Guys who at least offer value on one side of the ball or the other at a cost that allows to you to, um, I dunno, pay Albert Pujols?

Same thing has applied to the bullpen for many years.

The problem you run into is when you decide (or SOMEONE does) to jettison a Brendan Ryan, and the best you can find in your price range is a Ryan Theriot.

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